This sophisticated salad features fresh and vibrant flavors. Although it is quick and simple to make, it is elegant when plated artistically and perfectly worthy of a dinner party of a Valentine's Day dinner. Ironically, I grew up in an Italian household and we enjoyed orange slices drizzled with olive oil and a grinding of black pepper, as well as fennel dipped in oil and pepper, so these flavors seem normal and well balanced to my palate!
- Prepare fennel - using only the white bulb, shave thin slices on a mandolin or with a very sharp knife. Set aside.
- Prepare pecorino-romano cheese - finely grated cheese does NOT have enough flavor "punch", so buy your cheese in bulk and create larger pieces, such as match-stick size or larger shavings.
- On 4 cold plates, arrange arugula. Top with orange sections, shaved fennel and pieces of pecorino-romano cheese.
- Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar or balsamic "glaze" (see note below). Finish with a grinding of fresh black pepper and serve.
- NOTE: You can find balsamic "glaze" in gourmet or Italian stores. It is a thicker, more concentrated balsamic vinegar.